Having a needle go through your ear sounds, well, like it doesn't feel great. But, of course, rocking curated stacks of earrings is on trend these days... which calls for multiple piercings. To see if there's a way to keep the ouch-factor to a minimum, Bustle spoke with piercing experts to find out what the least painful ear piercing is, what to expect when you get it, and how to care for it after.
For the intel, Bustle reached out to pros like celebrity piercer and owner of Body Electric Tattoo Brian Keith Thompson, owner of So Gold Studios in Brooklyn Cassi Lopez-March, and Leah Mortenson, a registered nurse for piercing studio Rowan, to let you know what to expect if you're heading in for your very first piercing or if you're planning on a second (or third or fourth) and want to know the least painful spot.
The verdict? Across the board, all of our experts agreed that there's one place you should get pierced if you're looking to avoid an excruciating experience (though all agreed that pain is relative and personal, so hey, you never know if that tragus piercing may not be so bad after all). For those looking to know about the easiest spot to get a new stud or earring, here's the 411 on the spot, why it's less painful, and how to care for it while it's healing.
What's The Least Painful Ear Piercing?
All of the experts agree that a lobe piercing — the fleshy bit at the bottom of the ear — is the least painful option you can get. "The earlobe, also called the lobule, is primarily fleshy and full of blood and nerve endings," Mortensen tells Bustle. "The large blood supply helps with wound healing and can in turn decrease the amount of pain felt with an earlobe piercing."
That said, everyone has a different pain tolerance. Lopez-March says that although lobes are the least painful spot, she can't guarantee zero pain since it's different for everyone.
Still feeling apprehensive about the stinging sensation? According to Mortensen, you can alleviate some of the pain with a numbing cream applied to the piercing location. Another method, says Lopez-March, is making sure you work with a quality, reputable piercing artist. When you do so, it should feel like "a quick pinch that's over and done before you know it," she says.
What Should I Expect If I Get A Lobe Piercing?
If you're convinced you can handle a lobe piercing, it also helps to know what to expect during your appointment. Prior to your visit to the salon, Thompson says you should do your research and find a piercer that has a clean, sanitary studio and practices a piercing style you like. Once your appointment day comes, eat beforehand and stay hydrated (this prevents low blood sugar levels, which can lead to feeling dizzy or faint). If you're planning to add more than one set of piercings — like a classic lobe plus a second set that results in four piercings overall — he says to be sure you only get as many piercings as you can handle. Go slow, since you can always come back.
As for getting the piercing itself, Mortenson says it's a pretty straightforward process. She tells Bustle that your piercer will thoroughly clean the area using a single-use alcohol prep pad. Once done, they will mark your ear with a fine point tip marker in order to mark the exact location of the piercing. Then, there will be one final cleaning with an alcohol pad before the actual piercing.
How Do I Care For A Lobe Piercing?
According to Bustle's experts, the lobe is one of the quickest piercings to heal. Mortenson says it takes about six weeks, and aftercare is simple. "Wash once a day with a mild soap and leave it alone," Thompson tells Bustle. "The less you do is best."
You can also skip the soap. Lopez-March has previously told Bustle that it could cause irritation for some people. If you're worried about this, her recommendation is to use a simple saline solution to rinse the piercing.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is your face mask. Alvarado has also previously spoken to Bustle about their effect on piercings: "Mask straps harbor bacteria — if that bacteria enters the site of the new piercing during the healing process, it could create an infection of the piercing site," she said. Be sure to practice good mask hygiene and clean the straps after each use. Other than that, your earrings should be in good shape.